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10 DAYS TO 2023 KICKOFF: Jacob Parrish

In which BracketCat counts down the 10th day until the 2023 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State cornerback Jacob Parrish.

#10 Jacob Parrish
Chris Klieman said Tuesday that no freshman, other than RJ Garcia, has made more strides this offseason toward locking up a starting position in 2023 than cornerback Jacob Parrish (10) has.
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Goal No. 10: NEVER GIVE UP. Never, never, never.

#10 Jacob Parrish

True Sophomore | 5-10 | 183 lbs. | Olathe, Kansas
Jacob Parrish
Jacob Parrish
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Cornerback
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Jacob Parrish (b. Feb. 29, 2004) is an electric young defensive back from Olathe High School North who looks likely to start at one of the cornerback positions entering 2023.

A true freshman who did not redshirt in 2022, playing all 14 games as a reserve cornerback and special teams contributor, Parrish played a majority of the Big 12 Championship game on defense against TCU, setting a career high with four tackles and a pass breakup.

He also broke up a pass in the regular-season match-ups at TCU and West Virginia, while he recovered a fumble against Texas, tallied three tackles at West Virginia and collected two more against Oklahoma State.

A February addition to the 2022 class, Jacob prepped under head coach Chris McCartney at Olathe North, where he earned all-state honors as a senior from Sports in Kansas.

A dynamic player who played defensive back, running back and wide receiver for the Eagles, Parrish totaled 137 career tackles — including 55 as a senior — to go along with six interceptions and 21 total passes defended.

He also rushed for 1,951 career yards and 22 touchdowns while hauling in 69 passes for 1,313 yards and another 15 scores, setting the school record for career receiving yards.

Parrish also competed in basketball and in track and field as a prep. He selected K-State over offers from Air Force, Army, Dartmouth, New Mexico State, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa and South Dakota State, as well as interest from Kent State.

Here’s what head coach Chris Klieman had to say about Parrish on National Signing Day:

Jacob’s a defensive back... He’s a phenomenal athlete, could be a receiver, great kick and punt returner. We’ve been contacting and communicating with him since he came here for camp in the summer, but kind of kept it under the radar a little bit because we thought we had a real gem there, a hidden gem with Jacob. He’s extremely fast, extremely physical, very athletic and excited to have another Olathe North product here.

Klieman explained the original plan to “blueshirt” Parrish eventually went by the wayside:

A little bit of both. The fact that I’ve been recruiting him a lot myself and saw him at camp, saw how competitive he was. Went and saw him in school. He’s gotten bigger, gained some weight, gotten stronger. Talked to his head coach, and we’re just not letting this kid go. We’re going to sign him today. He and his family visited last weekend. So, fortunate that we were able to sign him today.

I’d say that’s some pretty high praise by a guy who knows his defensive backs! And it was borne out when Parrish took a huge step forward in fall camp this month, Klieman said:

Jacob Parrish is a really, really good football player that we all know about, but he has really taken his game to the next level.

This sentiment was echoed last week by defensive coordinator Joe Klanderman:

I’m incredibly impressed with Jacob Parrish. He wasn’t a starter most of last year. He’s playing at an extremely high level.

A year ago, Jacob was just a really good athlete who didn’t have a great idea of what he was doing or what we were doing. That’s where his biggest offseason gains have come. He’s really evolved in his understanding of what we’re doing, and that’s going to help him in situational football. He’s done a lot of situational things the last few days that’s going to allow us to move him around in some different positions. He’s going to be a rock-solid star wherever he is.

And if those weren’t enough accolades, look at what his position coach, Van Malone, said:

Jacob’s leadership — as he and I have had discussions — his leadership is important, because he’s a very good player and a focused player, and he competes. I have continually talked to him about having an understanding that everyone is watching. They’re watching you. There’s no more ‘lead by example.’ We need him to lead and be a vocal part of our defense because he has the credibility to be able to do that.

You’re talking about a sophomore. Normally, you’re talking about juniors and seniors, but this guy, when he’s a junior and senior, he’s going to be off the charts with his play. I continually, as a coach, (to) push him to be a leader. He runs well, he’s competitive, he understands the schemes, he communicates when he’s on the field. From that standpoint, I just want him to continue to refine those things. Where I want him to grow the most will be in his leadership off the field and being a vocal guy to bring guys along with him.

Parrish himself assessed the different ways he has improved during this offseason:

I know the scheme better. Last year, I was new to the game, and it was going too fast for me. Now the game is slowing down, and I’m able to make plays. I’m just more physical, and I’ve put on weight. Last year, I was at around 175 pounds, but now I’m at around 190. That’ll help me this upcoming season.

Parrish’s older brother, Jevon, is a wrestler at Nebraska. (They have a couple of speedy younger brothers, Jason and Joshua, who now are running track and field at Wichita State.)